The reforms championed by Deal saved Georgia taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars in additional prison spending, significantly reduced the minority prison population and created innovative solutions to treat nonviolent offenders suffering from mental illness and substance abuse.
With the Super Bowl behind us, the fourth week of the 2019 Legislative Session saw the return of our busy schedule of committee hearings, policy meetings and the consideration of important legislation.
I had the privilege of welcoming a number of constituent groups to the Capitol this week: on Wednesday, a group of Effingham County senior citizens joined us at the Capitol as part of the Georgia Council on Aging and, on Thursday, we recognized and welcomed this year’s Bulloch County Leadership group.
Among the legislation the House considered this week was House Resolution 1, which names our state’s new judicial center after our former governor, Nathan Deal. This resolution honors Deal’s leadership in the area of criminal justice reform during his eight years in office. The reforms championed by Deal saved Georgia taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars in additional prison spending, significantly reduced the minority prison population and created innovative solutions to treat nonviolent offenders suffering from mental illness and substance abuse.
In addition, the House completed the first major step in the 2019 session’s budget process by passing the Amended Fiscal Year (AFY) 2019 Budget. The AFY 2019 Budget focuses our additional revenue in the areas of school security, mental health services for troubled high school students and continued assistance for Georgia farmers impacted by Hurricane Michael.
I am particularly proud of one budget provision: $9.9 million for pediatric projects at the Children’s Hospital of Georgia at the Augusta University Health System. This worthwhile investment will ensure children in South Georgia have access to life-saving treatments for cancer and other diseases.
Other highlights of the AFY 2019 Budget include:
* $10 million for emergency disaster relief assistance to Georgia farmers in counties impacted by Hurricane Michael. This additional builds upon the $55 million appropriated to the Georgia Development Authority to assist farmers during the 2018 Special Session.
* $69.4 million to provide school security grants of $30,000 each for 2,314 school facilities including charter schools, college and career academies, GNETS facilities.
* $8.4 million in additional funding to the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities to expand the Georgia Apex Program, which provides support counselors in high schools for students suffering from mental health issues.
As we work hard in the days ahead to strengthen Georgia families and businesses, please do not hesitate to call (404.656.5052), e-mail (Jon.Burns@House.Ga.Gov) or engage on Facebook (www.FB.com/JonBurnsGA) with your feedback. It is an honor to represent you in the General Assembly, and I look forward to seeing you soon.
Jon Burns represents District 159 in the Georgia General Assembly where he serves as the House majority leader.